Tuesday 9 December 2014

Emailing MPs about BBC bias

In my campaigning salad days (in the run-up to the 2010 general election), when I used to regularly email my concerns about BBC bias to potentially susceptible shadow cabinet ministers, backbench MPs, MEPs, peers and journalists, I'd often find myself in a difficult moral position when it came to their replies.

Some of them were decidedly forthright about the BBC - and their staff, answering on their behalf, could be even more indiscreet.  

All of  this would have made great 'copy' for my old blog but, as emails are private conversations, it didn't feel right to share them with the world, and only an occasional 'cookie cooker' response would get published (usually in a fit of pique on my part).

I've had a few more recent exchanges (all very interesting) with journos and pols, but (much to your annoyance, no doubt) I intend to keep just as strum about those too. 

Now, there is an optimistic point to all of this doubtless very frustrating semi-information you'll (probably) be glad to hear (through gnashing teeth):

If you feel angry about BBC bias it is incredibly easy to write/email/tweet your concerns to influential people - and it certainly beats getting wound up by the Borges-like labyrinth known to the world as 'the BBC Complaints department'. 

My advice: Target those who you think might be interested (and, even better, self-interested) and who are in a position to do something about it (if they so choose). There's absolutely nothing to be lost in so doing. 

That said (in another fit of pique), I'm about to share something with you tonight which might appear somewhat less encouraging.

Here's a reply (verbatim) from my local Conservative MP (or someone writing on his behalf) to a recent email of mine putting forward a series of highly practical proposals for reforming the BBC recommended by a reader (Dan) in the hope that the MP in question might raise them in parliament - or, at least, show some empathy/sympathy towards them:
Thank you for your email, which you raise some interesting points and ideas.

Unfortunately Under the terms of the BBC's Charter and Agreement, the BBC is operationally, editorially and managerially independent of government and there is no provision for the Government to intervene in the Corporation's day-to-day operations.
The BBC is an independent body governed by the Royal Charter, which is its constitutional basis. The Charter sets out the public purposes of the BBC, guarantees its independence, and outlines the duties of the Trust and the Executive Board. If you ever feel that the BBC has not reached the high standards that have been set for it, then I recommend that you file a complaint at www.bbc.co.uk/complaints.

I do hope that this information helps and thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue.
Now, I don't think the MP in question would mind me sharing that, given that it's a polite rebuff and gives absolutely nothing away, but I think we BBC critics can take something away from it - that we probably haven't got a great ally there! 

1 comment:

  1. The BBC is there as a public servant. And like all public servants should expect a good kick up the arse when not attending to the public with sufficient assiduity. :)


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